Philadelphia Councilman Bill Greenlee plans to introduce legislation Thursday that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
The at-large councilman says it is imperative to take action on e-cigarettes now to reduce the likelihood their use results in children moving on to real cigarettes. A 2012 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the number of high-school students smoking e-cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012, from 4.7 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012. The survey also showed that 76.3 percent of middle- and high-school students who had tried an e-cigarette in the prior 30 days had also smoked a traditional tobacco cigarette.
"Based on the limited data that we have seen, I think it is imperative that we keep these devices out of the hands of minors now,"Greenlee said in a statement. "We need to protect people, especially minors, from the deadly smoking habit."
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat liquids to create a vapor — a vapor that may or may not contain nicotine. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, leaving questions about the contents of the liquids used in them.
City officials are also considering a ban on "vaping," as smoking e-cigarettes is called, in public places, as is the case with tobacco products.